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02-12-2009, 10:58 AM   #1
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Pentax SMC P FA J - Telephoto zoom lens - 75 mm - 300 mm - f/4.5-5.8 AL verses Pentax

Any suggestions on which one to buy? Amazon has the DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED for 279.00 and the SMC P FA J 75-300 mm - f/4.5-5.8 AL for $116.00. Pros and cons of both. I'll be using this on a K20D. No specific use just looking to buy a longer lens. Would really like a Big Momma.

02-12-2009, 11:37 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoghead Quote
Any suggestions on which one to buy? Amazon has the DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED for 279.00 and the SMC P FA J 75-300 mm - f/4.5-5.8 AL for $116.00. Pros and cons of both. I'll be using this on a K20D. No specific use just looking to buy a longer lens. Would really like a Big Momma.
The FA J lens is not the best according to the reviews I've seen. Check it out in the lens review section of the site. The DA 55-300 rates extremely well.
02-12-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoghead Quote
Any suggestions on which one to buy? Amazon has the DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED for 279.00 and the SMC P FA J 75-300 mm - f/4.5-5.8 AL for $116.00. Pros and cons of both. I'll be using this on a K20D. No specific use just looking to buy a longer lens. Would really like a Big Momma.
check the date of lens launch.

from reviews, the newer pentax 55-300 is quite worth the buy. In the case of tele zooms, usually it is a good idea to get newer launched ones unless yours originally is the several thousand dollars type in reasonably good shape.
02-12-2009, 11:58 AM   #4
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I think in this case you get what you pay for. I own the FAJ and it's fine at medium focal lengths and apertures, but it does get somewhat soft at the long end. If budget is your priority then it will certainly get you into the telephoto game, but if sharpness and contrast is paramount to you then it's probably worth spending the extra money, IMHO.

02-12-2009, 12:54 PM   #5
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I don't have any of those two, but the DA rates better. Never heard much good about FA-J series...
02-12-2009, 01:14 PM   #6
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I own the Pentax DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 now. I really am looking for something longer for wildlife photography. I'd like something in the 400mm+ range but the cost starts to go way up.
02-12-2009, 02:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoghead Quote
I own the Pentax DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 now. I really am looking for something longer for wildlife photography. I'd like something in the 400mm+ range but the cost starts to go way up.
Pentax says the DA 55-300 was designed to stay sharp at 300mm, which is good. It is probably much better than the FA-J.

But if 250mm isn't enough, I don't think 300mm is enough either. It's not a big difference. Depending on your wildlife, I think you're right in wanting 400mm. I was amazed that despite the crop factor of digital, my 400mm prime was often not big enough. See if you can get someone who owns both to provide examples.
02-12-2009, 02:10 PM   #8
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In all honesty, if you are happy with the 18-250, there isn't a whole lot to be gained by the extra 50mm.

02-12-2009, 09:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jodokast96 Quote
In all honesty, if you are happy with the 18-250, there isn't a whole lot to be gained by the extra 50mm.
My thoughts exactly. A 50mm at the long end does not you give that much extra reach, plus, the FAJ is soft at the long end. I have a copy I both from a fellow member, but I end up rarely using it.

If you consider manual focus, the A* 300mm F4, mate it with a 1.4 or 1.7 teleconverter, you are at 400+.
02-12-2009, 10:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoghead Quote
I own the Pentax DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 now. I really am looking for something longer for wildlife photography. I'd like something in the 400mm+ range but the cost starts to go way up.
Several years ago I found a K400/5.6 on eBay for under $200. It was an excellent lens, though it was manual focus. It did demand a tripod for sharp images though but I was shooting this one a PZ-1p, pre-SR days back then!
02-12-2009, 10:21 PM   #11
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I have had experience with both lens, and would without doubt recommend the DA over FA J unequivocally.
The FAJ is far too soft at the long end, sold it pretty shortly after purchase.
DA 55-300 still own it and highly recommend, remembering of course it is a budget lens. However, it does a great job for its price.
#Incidentally it is acceptably sharp at 300mm.For example:

02-14-2009, 02:27 PM   #12
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I guess my FAJ is pretty decent enough for me to keep I guess.
Can't say I have had an issue with it.












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